By Deon J. Hampton Newsday

RIVERHEAD, NY — A police dog with the Riverhead Town Police Department died and two officers suffered nonlife-threatening injuries early Sunday after a vehicle fled a sobriety checkpoint and a pursuing K-9 patrol unit crashed, authorities said.

Officers with the police department were conducting the checkpoint at about 2:30 a.m. on Peconic Avenue in Riverhead when a dark-colored Audi sedan entered and an investigating officer directed the driver to stop for further questioning, police said in a news release.

The male driver of the Audi abruptly drove off, striking an officer before several Riverhead police patrol units set off in pursuit, officials said.

A K-9 patrol unit taking part in the pursuit struck a utility pole on West Main Street near Raynor Avenue in Riverhead after the officer behind the wheel lost control, police said.

Rocky, a police dog assigned to the unit was ejected from the vehicle and killed, police said. His police officer handler, as well as the officer struck by the Audi at the checkpoint, were transferred to a hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Police said Rocky had been with the Riverhead Town Police Department since May 2011.

Eventually, the pursuit was deemed too dangerous and called off in Manorville, police said.

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